Colne’s late drama

Mark Threlfall

Mark Threlfall

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IT was a tale of two keepers for Colne over the week.

On Saturday, outfield player Mark Threlfall - pressed into action after the harsh dismissal of Jamie Scott - made an incredible save from a penalty in the dying moments to earn the Reds the points at Congleton Town.

But on Tuesday, New Mills’ Ben Procter denied Ted Cockett an equaliser at the XLCR Stadium with a point-blank stop at the death.

Against the league leaders, the Reds got off to the perfect start with a goal after two minutes when Andy Tinker’s through ball gave Danny Boyle the chance to tuck his shot into the bottom corner.

The Colne defence coped well with a skilful New Mills, but were fortunate when Carlos Meakin headed across the face of goal from a great opportunity after 17 minutes.

However, the Reds might have doubled their lead after 20 minutes when Boyle broke clear but saw his firmly struck shot blocked by Procter.

Two minutes later, Colne were made to pay as their defence was caught out by a through ball and Luke Horrocks made no mistake.

On the half hour, keeper Scott was injured in a clash with Leon Grandison for a 50-50 ball, but fortunately managed to continue after lengthy treatment.

Threlfall had strong claims for a penalty when he was felled by a late tackle, but the referee waved aside Colne’s appeals.

At the other end, in a similar incident, Nicholas Swirad went down under a challenge by Joe Garvin and the referee pointed to the spot. Meakin blasted in the penalty kick to give New Mills a 2-1 lead just before half-time.

In the second half, Colne took the game to their opponents and Cockett saw his piledriver tipped over, before Garvin fired narrowly wide from a good opening.

However, Scott was kept busy, and Colne had a let-off after 83 minutes when Chris Hirst saw his shot come back off the post.

With time running out, the Reds mounted a last attack and Boyle’s through ball sent Cockett clear, but Procter saved his shot with his feet.

Threlfall was the hero on Saturday after donning the gloves.

From the first kick Colne dominated against an in-form Congleton, who were undefeated in six games.

The Reds were only denied the lead in the first half by an excellent performance by keeper Matt Conkie.

In the first quarter-of-an-hour Boyle brought out two great saves after being provided good opportunities by Neil Stansfield.

Threlfall was then denied by another good save when he found space for a shot, but it was deflected over.

Stansfield then released Andy Tinker down the left, and he picked out Boyle, who blasted over.

Martin Broderick then played Tinker down the right, and he crossed to Threlfall at the far post, whose glancing header bounced just wide.

In the second half, Colne continued where they had left off.

Threlfall and Boyle both came close to opening the scoring, and the Reds finally got their reward on the hour when Tinker jinked past his marker and played in James Crorken, who calmly passed the ball past Conkie.

On 75 minutes the Reds increased their lead when Threlfall and Tinker combined well to set up Boyle, who cleverly clipped in at the far post.

Minutes later Conkie made a brilliant save from Garvin’s strike which looked destined for the top corner, before he came out quickly to foil Boyle.

Then with only 5 minutes remaining, Richard Bailey appeared to knock down the ball with his hand before firing home into the far corner. The goal was allowed to stand and set up a nervous finale for the Reds.

A minute later Bailey raced through again and beat Scott to the ball, but his shot was cleared off the line by Billy Priestley. Amazingly Scott was shown a straight red card, although he had not made contact with the Congleton striker, and a penalty was awarded.

Threlfall then capped an excellent performance by diving to his right and saving Robinson’s well-struck shot and preserving all three points for Colne.

Tomorrow Colne travel to Maine Road before a trip to St Helens on Tuesday.

BRIAN COATES